It was approximately 27 minutes to lunch on Day 2 and England had taken the lead, but had just lost their third wicket of the morning. The scalp was that of Moeen Ali who had his stumps scattered by a superb in-swinger from Varun Aaron.
Just before Aaron had started the over, Dhoni had asked him to dig deep and bowl one more over. India was in desperate need of a wicket. The young man obliged by knocking over Ali.
Now it was Dhoni’s turn to seize the advantage and inspire the rest of his teammates in the remaining 20 minutes before the break. On the other side, Ravichandran Ashwin was starting to tighten the noose and the Indian skipper desperately needed either Pankaj Singh or Bhuvneshwar Kumar to stand up and be counted.
Pankaj, right choice
Pankaj was the likely choice as he had only bowled three overs in the morning, but Dhoni decided to bring back his most successful bowler in Kumar. It was the right move but with an eight-over spell earlier in the morning, Kumar barely touched the 80mph and dished out a couple of half trackers that allowed England to break free for a brief moment. Perhaps it was the right moment for Pankaj.
Kumar’s lacklustre second spell led to Dhoni bringing on his spinners from both ends. But the field Dhoni set for the new batsmen once again showcased his lack of faith and creativity.
18: The number of wickets Bhuvneshwar Kumar has taken in the Test series so far. He is one wicket behind England’s James Anderson from taking the top spot.